Every life is cherished, chosen, sent by God

Suzanne Stack / Catholic Courier    |    10.01.2018
Category: Respect Life

“Every Life Cherished · Chosen · Sent.”

This theme of the 2018-19 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Respect Life Program highlights the inherent value of every single human life, made in the image of God. Each one of us also is divinely chosen and sent forth for a purpose. This is demonstrated in the life of St. Juan Diego.

“In 1531, when the indigenous peoples of Mexico were subjugated and the practice of human sacrifice was still a recent memory, the Mother of God appeared to St. Juan Diego as a pregnant native woman, now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.” She sent Juan to reveal her image. As a result, “millions embraced Christianity and the Church increased its protection of the indigenous peoples. By embracing the mission entrusted to him, St. Juan Diego helped bring Christ’s transforming love to cultures gripped by oppression and death.” (Excerpted from Respect Life Program, copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C.)

Everything in this year’s USCCB Respect Life Program is available online, and most resources are downloadable. This includes articles formatted as bulletin inserts or handouts, liturgy resources, images, and ideas for October’s Respect Life Month as well as the rest of the year. Access them at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/index.cfm.

Here in the Diocese of Rochester, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano is celebrating the annual Diocesan Respect Life Mass on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 4:30 p.m. at Church of the Holy Spirit, 1355 Hatch Road in Webster. Please join us to stand and pray together for the respect of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.

As we have most years since 2012, our Diocesan Public Policy Committee again chose abortion expansion as one of its issues of focus in 2018.

In the beginning of the 2018 New York state legislative session, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed for passage of the abortion expansion bill (called the Reproductive Health Act) by including it in his budget proposal. He continued his efforts throughout the session, and even over the summer, calling for a special legislative session to pass the bill, which goes much farther than codifying Roe v Wade.

This bill would endanger the lives of expectant women as well as their unborn children by several means, including among several others the decriminalization of any violent loss of an unborn child and allowing non-doctors to perform abortions. Rather than the current requirement of providing medical care to babies born alive in attempted abortions, the bill allows these babies to be left to die after birth.

Through bulletin inserts and e-mail alerts, parishioners throughout our diocese (and the rest of the state) were encouraged to contact their legislators at key moments to oppose this bill. Many did so, and, once again, in spite of all the governor’s efforts, this bill did not become law, sparing lives that are divinely cherished, chosen and sent.

The need to continue our efforts to oppose abortion expansion includes our activities on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov, 6. The governor, all state senators and assembly members and others are up for election. The deadline to register to vote is Friday, Oct. 12. You can register online, by mail or in person. For more information and to register online, visit www.elections.ny.gov/votingregister.html. Please exercise faithful citizenship by voting to uphold respect for every human life, which is the foundation of all Catholic social teaching.

Please also join the New York State Catholic Conference’s Catholic Action Network, which will send you occasional e-mail alerts to contact your local representative(s) about urgent legislative issues. The alerts include a message that can be personalized and will be sent directly to your representative(s), as determined by your address. Sign up at www.nyscatholic.org and click on the CAN/Join the Catholic Action Network icon.

As we especially honor the foundation of our Catholic social teaching during October’s Respect Life Month, know that each one of us is

• cherished: unconditionally loved by our Creator;

• chosen: created uniquely by our loving God and called to a unique purpose; and

• sent: to live out that purpose, witnessing to God’s love by our very lives.

Stack is life-issues coordinator for the Diocese of Rochester.

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